America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural & educational experience!

Meet Your 2023 Commodity Classic Speakers!




John Baranick

Ag Meteorologist



John Baranick graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in meteorology and a minor in agronomy. He has been a meteorologist with DTN since 2011 providing weather insights for clients across the aviation, transportation, energy, and agriculture industries worldwide. He is a frequent guest on ag media programs to discuss weather impacts on crops and operations both domestically and abroad. John's passion for teaching o


thers about how weather works and the impacts it can have on commodities, markets, and infrastructure shine through his daily weather briefings, videos, and blog articles for DTN.



Missy Bauer

Certified Crop Advisor
B&M Crop Consulting


Missy Bauer is co-owner of B&M Crop Consulting, an independent agricultural consulting company in Coldwater, Michigan. She has conducted field trials comparing performance of tar spot-tolerant hybrids and fungicides. Bauer holds a master’s degree in agronomy from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science in crop and soil sciences from Michigan State University. She is also a field agronomist for Farm Journal.  



Natalina Sents Bausch

Managing Editor of News

Successful Farming and


Natalina Sents Bausch is the Managing Editor of News for Successful Farming and She has covered new machinery, weather, and breaking news for more than 5 years. Bausch earned an Agricultural Business degree from Iowa State University and visited farmers in all 50 states before joining the staff.  



Laurie Bedord

Executive Editor, Agronomy & Technology
Successful Farming® magazine,, and the Successful  TV Show


Laurie Bedord is the Executive Editor, Agronomy & Technology for Successful Farming® magazine,, and the Successful Farming TV Show. She has been covering agriculture for more than 20 years. An award-winning editor, Bedord graduated from Simpson College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism.



Matt Bennett

Grain Marketing Consultant
Channel Seed


Matt is a Windsor, Illinois farmer, co-founder of and blogger at He adds the producer perspective to the panel, enriched with his extensive grain marketing background. Matt has been highly rated from attendees the last 5+ Commodity Classic sessions.





Curt Blades

Senior Vice President, Agriculture, Construction and Product Leadership

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)


Blades is responsible for the strategic direction of agriculture & construction programs and services for AEM membership, and he serves as the primary liaison with ag-specific industry organizations, customer groups and government agencies, both in North America and worldwide.  He also oversees the safety, sustainability, standards, and regulatory efforts for all off-road equipment supported by AEM.
Blades has extensive experience in management, marketing, sales and research. He has worked in the industry in various capacities that include interesting roles at Meredith Corporation, MachineryLink and Farmland Industries.
He is active in the National FFA organization, National Agri-Marketing Association, Agribusiness Education Foundation and Agriculture Council of America.
Blades earned a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He grew up on a 5,000-acre farm in northeast Missouri.


   Erin Borror

Vice President of Economic Analysis
U.S. Meat Export Federation


Erin joined USMEF in July 2006 after receiving her M.S. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. She received her B.S. in Agribusiness at California Polytechnic State University. As Economist, Erin is responsible for USMEF’s red meat export forecasts, trade policy related analysis, global market analysis for U.S. exporters, and U.S. market analysis for international customers. In 2014, Erin also became Chairman of the Economics Committee for the International Meat Secretariat.


Raised on a cow/calf operation in Colorado, Erin has a background in production agriculture and a passion for the red meat industry. Working remotely for USMEF, she and her husband, Bryce Borror, along with their boys Clayton and Nolan, raise purebred and commercial cattle at Tehama Angus Ranch in northern California.


Garth Boyd

Partner, The Context Network


Garth Boyd, Ph.D.’s depth and breadth of life-long experience in production agriculture, academia, extension and agribusiness combine with his passion for teamwork and delivering results to help clients in the following areas: value creation in responsible food chains; sustainability, environmental assets and bioenergy issues spanning local to international project scopes; environmental technology research, development, implementation and continuous improvement; nutrient management and environmental assurance; and team leadership. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Reproductive Physiology, 1987, Kansas State University, Manhattan KS, a Master of Science in Reproductive Physiology, 1982, University of Georgia, Athens, GA and his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, 1980, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.



Tony Burd

Senior Regulatory Stewardship Manager


Tony has been with Syngenta for more than 22 years. He has held various roles in Research and Development including Head of Product Biology. In his current role within the Stewardship Group, Tony focuses on the Endangered Species Act and how it intersects with pesticide registrations and subsequent consultation processes. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Entomology.




Marion Calmer

Farmer, President of Calmer Ag Research, and Founder of Calmer Corn Heads


Marion Calmer, founder/owner/CEO of Calmer Corn Heads, president of Calmer’s Ag Research Mike NorthCenter and a 1978 Black Hawk College graduate, developed the world’s first ultra-narrow row corn head and numerous other patented harvesting technologies, which have revolutionized how corn is grown and managed around the world. As a byproduct, these technologies help decrease world hunger, improve soil fertility and water quality, reduce the need for chemical weed control and increase farmer profitability.
In the mid-1980s Marion opened one of the nation’s first independent on-farm research centers. It is best described as a center run by a farmer for farmers. The research center allows Marion to share his honest opinion and years of unbiased information on various profitable and environmentally friendly approaches to growing and harvesting corn and soybeans.



Christopher Clark

Senior Physical Scientist
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD)


Dr. Christopher Clark is a Senior Physical Scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) in Washington, DC. He works on a variety of projects at ORD, including improving agricultural sustainability, assessing impacts from climate change and air pollution on natural ecosystems, and assessing the environmental effects from biofuels in the U.S. Dr. Clark is the overall lead for the Joint EPA-USDA Partnership and Competition on Next Gen Fertilizers to Advance Agricultural Sustainability in the United States ( The goal of the partnership is to evaluate the potential for new fertilizer technologies to help reduce the impacts from row crop agriculture on the environment, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity and profitability.



Corey Claussen


Custom Roto-Mold, LLC (CRM)


Claussen is responsible for the strategic direction of CRM. CRM is a family owned, technical custom rotational molder located in Benson, MN. Established in 1994, CRM has over 150 employees focused on providing technical rotomolding solutions by partnering with OEM’s in many business sectors.  
Claussen is an active member and former President of the Association of Rotational Molders (ARM).  The Association of Rotational Molders (ARM) is a worldwide trade association currently representing member companies in 58 countries. ARM is the primary voice of the industry and the source for information on rotational molding. The Association serves its members by focusing on the needs of designers, customers, educators, suppliers, member company employees and regulators
Claussen is actively involved in the local community by serving a local economic and foundation boards.
Claussen has worked for the family business for over 25 years. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint John’s University (MN). He currently lives in Benson, MN with his wife and their two children.



Stanley Culpepper

Farmer & Professor of Weed Science

University of Georgia

Stanley Culpepper is a Professor in the Crop and Soil Science Department at The University of Georgia with a 98% Extension responsibility. A native of North Carolina, he grew up on a bicentennial family farm producing corn, cotton, peanut, soybean and wheat. He received his BS in Agronomy and his MS and PhD in weed science from N. C. State University. Stanley began his professional career at The University of Georgia as a cotton, vegetable and small grain weed scientist in 1999, and continues with those responsibilities today. Stanley’s ultimate goal is to develop and share sound science with family farms improving their sustainability.  


Rich DeSchepper

Agronomy Sales, Marketing & HR Manager

West Central FS, Inc.










Randy Dowdy

Farmer, World Record Corn Yield Champion

Partner, Total Acre


Randy Dowdy is a first-generation corn, soybean, wheat and peanut grower from Brooks County Georgia.  His philosophy is to maximize yields by minimizing stress that plants experience throughout the growing season.

Randy has a particular interest in maximizing corn and soybean yields. He has been able to exceed 450 plus bushels per acre of corn on his farm numerous times through a systems approach to growing corn.  In 2014, Randy set a new corn yield World Record and is the first grower ever to surpass 500 bushels per acre and additionally produced 100+ bushel beans in the same year.

He recently achieved the World Record for soybeans with a 190 bushels per acre yield in 2019 and had two 2016 NCGA entries over 500 bushels in corn.

Randy gives God all the glory for his success and wants other growers to understand his success is possible on their farms. He is passionate about sharing his practices with growers seeking to increase yields on their farms.

Randy and his wife have a teenage daughter, Loren, and a young son, Easton.

Scott Gerlt

Chief Economist

America Soybean Association


Scott Gerlt is the chief economist for the American Soybean Association, where he provides policy analysis and monitors markets to guide strategic organizational decisions. Prior to joining ASA in 2020, Scott was the program leader for U.S. crop policy and analysis at the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri. His position there involved him in the 2008, 2014 and 2018 farm bill evaluations for Congress. Scott has consulted or done analysis for or consulted with USDA, OECD and the Farm Credit System among others. He holds a bachelors and masters in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri.



Tommy Grisafi

Ag Risk Management Advisor
Advance Trading, Inc.

Tommy owns and operates Ag Bull Media, a vocal and video podcast. He developed an interest in managing risk when he attended a class field trip to the Chicago Board of Trade in High School. Tommy became a recognized member of the CBOT and CME group on his 21st birthday and has maintained this status for over 25 years. In his tenure with ATI,Bausch Tommy has worked with customers across the corn belt with a focus in North Dakota and the Red River Valley. Tommy is also a regular guest commentator for RFD-TV, U.S. Farm Report, and This Week in Agribusiness.


Gil Gullickson

Editor in Chief
Successful Farming


Gil Gullickson is Editor in Chief of Successful Farming. He oversees platforms that include magazine, web, podcasts, and television. Gullickson grew up on a Langford, South Dakota, farm and earned an agronomy degree from South Dakota State University. He is past president of the Agricultural Communicators Network and the North American Agricultural Journalists.



Jason Henderson

Senior Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Director of Purdue Extension



In this role, Jason leads the statewide public engagement and research-based education in Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Health and Human Sciences, and Economic and Community Development. As Assistant Vice President for Engagement, Jason provides leadership in university-wide initiatives designed to connect Purdue expertise and resources to statewide needs and forming effective partnerships to grow the state economy and improve the quality of life for Indiana’s residents.


Prior to being named Director of Extension, Jason served as Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In that role, he served as the Bank’s regional economist and representative in the state of Nebraska, recruited and worked closely with the Branch's board of directors, and briefed the Kansas City Fed's president—a member of the Federal Open Market Committee—on economic and business activity in the state. In addition, Jason led several Federal Reserve efforts to track agricultural and rural economies, including the quarterly publication of the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. He also managed the Main Street Economist, a bi-monthly publication covering economic issues affecting rural areas, and the Nebraska Economist, a quarterly publication providing insights into the Nebraska economy. Previously, he served as economist and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Jason is a nationally recognized expert in agricultural and rural issues. He has published more than 60 research articles in academic and Federal Reserve publications on topics such as land values, entrepreneurship, demographics, the growth of knowledge-based activity in rural America, the use of electronic commerce in agricultural industries, and the growth of value-added food manufacturing activity. Jason speaks frequently to a wide range of business, financial and policy audiences across the United States and internationally. His research on the agricultural and rural economy has been quoted by policy officials, researchers, and leading media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times and USA Today. In addition, Jason has been interviewed on CNBC and Fox Business and provided testimony on agricultural credit conditions to congressional subcommittees.


Dave Hula

Farmer, World Record Soybean Yield Champion
Partner, Total Acre

David Hula is a 3rd generation farmer at Renwood Farms, Inc. in Charles City, VA, where he and his family own 4,000+/- acres. He began farming with his late grandfather and retired dad; he currently farms with his two brothers and son.

His grandfather was one of the first to break 100 bushels followed by his dad in the 200 bushel club. David’s yields have now surpassed 400, 500, & 600 bushels. Yield advancements have also been completed in both soybean and small grain, with yields of 90’s and mid 100’s respectively. David is excited to help growers break through their own yield barriers.

Before joining the family farm, David worked for the VA Department of Soil and Water Conversation as a nutrient management specialist for 3 years. He learned a great deal of knowledge about the area producers, academic universities, and private industry which he brought back to Renwood Farms.

Renwood Farms began more intensive farming and is now known for seed production of soybeans and small grain. Through the last several decades, yields and quality have improved with a proven and evolving management system.

David realizes that with the grace of God and the ability to surround himself with a good team, success is obtainable.

He has been married to Sandy for 30+ years and together have a son, Craig, and a daughter, Amber (married to Robbie), who have two children (future fifth generation farmers).


Michael Langemeier

Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
and Associate Director, Center for Commercial Agriculture


Michael Langemeier joined Purdue University in July 2012. Michael’s Extension and research interests include cropping systems, benchmarking, strategic management, cost of production, and technical and economic efficiency. Most of Michael’s research has focused on the efficiency of farms and ranches, and crop and livestock enterprise production costs and efficiency. He has also conducted research related to tillage systems, biomass crops and the tradeoff between crop rotation profitability and water quality.


Prior to arriving at Purdue, Michael spent 22 years in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. In addition to working on Extension and research projects, Michael taught courses in economic theory and farm management and worked closely with the Kansas Farm Management Association. He also conducted workshops for feed mill managers, emphasizing the importance of tracking financial performance, benchmarking and capital budgeting.


In addition to conducting numerous workshops and presenting Extension and research information to numerous audiences in the United States, Michael has conducted workshops and given presentations in Australia, China, Ecuador, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania. He is currently involved in agribenchmark, an international benchmarking group centered in Germany.


Michael received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctorate from Purdue University. Michael’s family operates farms in eastern Nebraska.


Jake Li

Deputy Assistant Administrator

Jake works on a wide variety of pesticide issues within EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. One of Jake’s priorities is to help EPA achieve its endangered species protection goals related to pesticide decisions. Immediately before joining EPA, Jake worked for over a decade in the nonprofit sector on natural resource conservation and chemical regulatory issues. Jake has also represented the regulated community as an environmental lawyer in private practice. Jake strives to bring his insights from working with the private sector and environmental groups to find practical, fair, efficient, and durable solutions to how EPA regulates pesticide and other chemicals. Jake has published widely on wildlife conservation issues and is the co-editor of Endangered Species Act: Law, Policy, and Perspectives (3rd ed, 2021). 



Andrew Luzum

Nutrient Maximizer Strategic Account Manager

Corteva AgriScience

Andrew grew up on a family farm in Northeast Iowa and attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in Agriculture Business in 2016.   Following graduation, he started with Dow AgroSciences as an Enlist Field Training Specialist Trainee.  He has been a Crop Protection Territory Manager for four years in Illinois before spending the last two years in Southeast Iowa as a Pioneer Territory Manager and most recently a Nutrient Maximizer Strategic Account Manager.
Andrew and his wife Kaci reside near her family’s farm in Mediapolis. Outside of work he enjoys hunting, fishing, and being involved around the family farms.



Patty Mann



Patty raises corn and soybeans with her husband, Dave, her children, Shelby and Chris, and son-in-law Ethan, near Jackson Center, Ohio. Mann Farms is a family-owned grain operation and strives for high standards and commitment to excellence by engaging in ethical, honest production practices and environmental stewardship. Patty has been involved for many years with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association, serving in leadership roles with both.




 Mac Marshall

Vice President, Market Intelligence

United Soybean Board

Mac Marshall serves as the VP, Market Intelligence for the United Soybean Board. In this capacity Mac works with USB leadership in evaluating and establishing long-term strategic initiatives in support of advancing domestic and international market opportunities for the US soybean industry. He also serves as an industry source of market information and analysis on behalf of both USB and the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

Mac came to USB and USSEC in My 2020 from Bayer Crop Science, where he worked on international market access issues as part of a global agricultural policy team. Prior to Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto, Mac worked in Monsanto’s Global Strategy group with focus on commodity market analysis in support of the company’s long-term strategy setting and understanding of near-term market dynamics. Before joining Monsanto in 2014, Mac served as a staff economist at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics with focus on agricultural commodities and later as a supervisory economist leading a team of economists covering service industries. He holds a BA in economics from Vassar College and an MA in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University.



Seth Meyer (invited)

Chief Economist
U.S. Department of Agriculture


Dr. Seth Meyer was appointed USDA’s Chief Economist in January of 2020, returning to USDA after two years. Prior to his return, Seth was a Research Professor and the Associate Director for the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri. FAPRI is well known for its agricultural policy and market analysis, being called on by Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its insight into commodity production, price, farm income and trade impacts from various agricultural policies including Farm Bill proposals, trade agreements and disruptions, and crop insurance.


Dr. Meyer was previously the head of the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) in the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), the agency at USDA charged with bringing together USDA resources in the assessment of crops around the world. The OCE also publishes those finding in the ‘WASDE’ report which is closely watched by agricultural markets here and abroad.

Previously, Dr. Meyer served as an economist with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and as a visiting scholar at several research institutions around the world. Dr. Meyer grew up in eastern Iowa and has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri.


James Mintert

Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
and Director, Center for Commercial Agriculture


James Mintert is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics where he serves as director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, teaches commodity futures principles, and is one of the principal investigators for the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, a nationwide monthly sentiment survey of U.S. agricultural producers. Before taking on his role as Center for Commercial Agriculture director, Jim served as Purdue’s assistant director of Extension for agriculture and natural resources. Prior to joining Purdue’s faculty, Jim was a professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University for over two decades. He holds B.S and M.S. degrees in agricultural ec

onomics from Purdue University and a doctorate from the University of Missouri.


Over the course of his career, Jim has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Extension Program Awards from both the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the Western Agricultural Economics Association, in addition to the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association’s Premier Forecaster Award for his production and price forecasts. The author of more than 250 publications focusing on the economics of the farm economy, Mintert addresses a variety of farm and agribusiness audiences around the nation each year. Jim acquired his interest in agriculture while working on his family’s corn, soybean and wheat operation in the Mississippi and Missouri river bottoms, just north of St. Louis.



Whitney Monin

National Agronomy Manager


Whitney Monin is a self-proclaimed plant nerd with agricultural roots. She is an engaging speaker who is passionate about providing agronomic solutions to farmers. Monin holds bachelor’s degrees in agriculture and communications and a master’s degree in integrated plant and soil science from the University of Kentucky. 




Tyne Morgan

Host, U.S. Farm Report

Tyne Morgan is doing what she calls her "dream job." She’s a Missouri girl who has generations of agriculture rooted in her blood. Through public speaking and various contest teams, she actually plunged into broadcast at the young age of 16, working for the local radio station KMZU in Carrollton, Mo.


Tyne attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in Agricultural Journalism, with an emphasis in broadcast, graduating in 2008.
After spending numerous hours on the road as AgDay and U.S. Farm Report National Reporter, in 2014, Tyne was named the first female Host of U.S. Farm Report. She’s only the fourth host of the show, following Orion Samuelson, Max Armstrong and John Phipps. Today, Tyne continues to take a deep dive into the news and issues farmers are facing today, while also sharing stories from across rural America. She’s an award-winning agricultural journalist, receiving NAFB’s prestigious Doan Award twice, most recently in 2022.

More important than any title she holds today, is her title of “Mom.”  Tyne and her husband James are raising their two daughters in Orrick Mo., where they’re reminded daily the power and grit of a rural community as they volunteer with several organizations and work to give back.



Dave Mowitz


Dave Mowitz was raised on the plains of Nebraska tending to chores on an irrigated family farm, part of which he owns today. After various stints at other publications and managing the largest irrigated farm show in the country, Mowitz came to Successful Farming® magazine and, covering the topics of agronomy, machinery, and technology before retiring in 2022.






Leanna Leverich Nigon

Director of Agronomy
The Fertilizer Institute


Leanna Leverich Nigon is the Director of Agronomy at The Fertilizer Institute and a PhD Candidate at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Soil, Water and Climate. Leanna received her Bachelors in Agronomy and Communications from University of Wisconsin–Madison and her Masters in Soil Science at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Her research expertise is in soil fertility, with a focus on using geographic information science (GIS) and data-driven machine learning for site-specific nutrient management.

In her role with The Fertilizer Institute, Leanna directs the Science and Research Program, which supports, distributes, and publicizes research focused on 4R nutrient stewardship to both policymakers in Washington and to the public. She also focuses on pairing research with industry needs to create meaningful 4R tools and materials for farmers and members of the fertilizer industry.

Leanna grew up on a cash crop farm in Sparta, Wisconsin, and continues to remain involved in its operation, working with her father to perform on-farm research to improve their own 4R practices. Leanna currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband, Tyler, a fellow soil fertility scientist.


Chip Nellinger

Risk Management Consultant & Futures Market Specialist
Blue Reef Agri-Marketing


Chip was raised on a grain & livestock farm in N. Central IL and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University— B.S. Economics. His experience includes four  years on the  floor of CBOT  - International Commercial Grain Hedging, 26 years as a  Licensed Commodity Broker - Risk Management for Top Producers and 18 years as an IL licensed crop insurance agent. Chip is a commodity analyst on US Farm Report, Ag Day, RFD-TV, WILL & WNAX radio and is a member of the Agriculture Advisory Council of Illinois Central College. He is a 16-year cancer survivor.



Mike North



Mike grew up on his family's dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin. His lifelong interest in agriculture production led him to the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness with a minor in Dairy Science. While still a student, Mike served a one-year term as a Wisconsin State FFA Officer.
In 1995, Mike began his work in the futures industry as an intern researching the technical and fundamental dynamics of commodity market price trends. Armed with that understanding, Mike helped to grow the company into one of the pioneers of market responsive option hedging programs.  Armed with that knowledge, he was sought to address agricultural groups across the country as they wrestled with the topic of growing market volatility.
In 2014, Mike founded Commodity Risk Management Group (CRMG).  CRMG would merge with Rice Dairy in 2019 to form, a company which provides a suite of marketing and risk management services for producer, processor, and end user clients across its brokerage, insurance, advisory, and technology platforms while producing high-level unbiased research and education to help those clients make better decisions.  The new company grew very quickly and in June 2021 merged with to further build upon shared technology synergies and an interest to empower supply chains to feed a growing world.  Ever.Ag offers a vast array of solutions across all segments of agriculture.
Education continues to be one of Mike’s passions.  Mike is routinely published in many agricultural periodicals, is a frequent guest on several national television programs such as AgDay, RFDTV, and the U.S. Farm Report, and is often heard on local and national radio programs.  Mike has served as a part time professor at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and regularly enjoys engaging agricultural audiences across America.
For over a decade, Mike served on the board of directors of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), the policy advocate for the Wisconsin Dairy Industry. He served one term as its president. Mike has been honored as the 2006 Rising Star in Business for the IA, IL, & WI Tri-State Region. His alma mater awarded him the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2011 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2021.  Mike and his wife Jennifer have four daughters and are actively involved in showing animals, the leadership of their homeschool community and church. Mike is an avid sportsman who enjoys outdoor sports of every kind.


Mike Popelka

Hybrid Product Breeders Manager, AgReliant Genetics

Mike Popelka, Ph.D. manages AgReliant Genetics hybrid product breeding, focusing on developing unique and highly productive corn hybrids. He holds a doctorate in plant breeding from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science in agronomy and crop science from Kansas State University. He is based in Hesston, Kansas.  








Dr. Cristie Preston

Sr. Agronomist


Agriculture has always been an integral part of Dr. Cristie Preston’s life. She grew up in southwest Virginia and had interest in crop and animal agriculture since an early age. Once she began college, she initially chose to study animal science but switched to soil science. Dr. Preston attributes her decision partly to an influential professor who told her, “You can’t understand animals until you understand what they eat.” She received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and a Master of Science degree in crop and soil environmental science from Virginia Tech. Dr. Preston holds a Ph.D. in agronomy, focusing on soil fertility from Kansas State University. While completing her advanced degrees, Dr. Preston conducted more than six years of field and lab research. Dr. Preston has experience in laboratory research measuring volatility loss from urea-based fertilizers. Her field research has focused on phosphorus availability and the interactions with tillage and placement. She also has extensive experience in working with large data sets and analysis. Her main priority is helping growers to identify yield-limiting factors and fix those issues as cost efficiently as possible.




Eric Raby

Senior Vice President, Americas Region


In his current role, Eric leads commercial operations for North and South America including Sales, Service, Parts, Dealer Development, Marketing and Product Management. He is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association, has served as judge for the Southeastern U.S. Farmer of the Year Program, and is a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity. Raby also served as a member of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Automotive Equipment and Capital Goods (ITAC 2).  
He has a vast amount of experience on the manufacturing side of the business, beginning in 1990 with Hesston. He received an A.S. in Ag Equipment Management and a B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization from Western Kentucky University. Later in his career, he completed professional development programs at Purdue University, University of Virginia and Universität St.Gallen in Switzerland.
Eric Raby was raised on his family’s beef cattle, hay and tobacco farm in Western Kentucky. He worked for a local dealership as a service technician apprentice during high school and for another dealership as a retail sales representative during his college years.




Ben Riensche

Owner & Manager
Blue Diamond Farming Company


Ben owns and manages every aspect of Blue Diamond Farming Company including crop production, from applications to planting and harvesting, from marketing to delivery. Ben has been farming as the Blue Diamond Farming Company since 1993. Prior to this, Ben attended Jesup High School and served as Jesup FFA President from 1978-1979. He then went on to Iowa State University, where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in Ag Business. He is a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Afterward, he earned his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1989. Between school and farming, he worked for Wells Fargo Bank and the United Bank of Switzerland in their Wall Street, Chicago, and Basel, Switzerland offices. In 1994, Ben was chosen for an Eisenhower Fellowship. It was then that he moved to Hungary to use his banking and farm management skills in aiding local officials in adjusting to free trade. In 2001, Ben won the Farm Journal Top Producer of the Year award. Ben continues to run BDFC today using innovative and cutting-edge technology and management practices.



 Meredith Reisfield

Director of Carbon Policy & Strategic Partnerships
Indigo Ag


As Director of Carbon Policy & Strategic Partnerships, Meredith works across topic areas, including policy, science, demand, and supply, to bring agriculture to the forefront of solutions for climate change. A key component of her role at Indigo includes leading Indigo’s engagement with NGOs, policy, and academic partners. Previously, Meredith worked in sustainability consulting at Quantis, leading sector teams advising clients across the food, apparel, and cosmetics industries. She holds a Masters in Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan and a BA in Environment, Economics, and Politics from Claremont McKenna College.



Upendra Singh

Vice President Research – Chief Scientist
International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)


Dr. Upendra Singh is Vice President Research – Chief Scientist with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He has more than 35 years of experience in soil-plant-nutrient dynamics and fertilizer research and development/application of crop simulation models and decision support systems (DSS) in agricultural research, extension, and decision-making. Singh coordinates and conducts research in collaboration with National and International Agricultural Research Centers on better understanding and quantification of nutrient dynamics and environmental processes; development/co-development and evaluation of new fertilizer formulations; and development, field testing, and application of decision support software to simulate biophysical processes, with special emphasis on sustainable agriculture, crop yield forecasting, nutrient dynamics and environmental quality. He has conducted research projects and training programs in over 36 countries and has more than 200 publications. Dr. Singh’s team at IFDC conducted the greenhouse and laboratory studies on the evaluation of enhanced efficiency fertilizers under the Joint EPA-USDA Partnership and Competition on Next Gen Fertilizers to Advance Agricultural Sustainability in the United States.



Luther Smith, CAE

Director of Certification, American Society of Agronomy

Luther Smith, CAE, is the Director of Professional Development and Business Relations for the American Society of Agronomy (ASA); Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).  Luther is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Luther provides leadership for the Societies’ certification programs, continuing education development and business relationships.  His background includes experiences in on farm production, sales, marketing, Extension education and over 27 years in association management leading the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) Program.  He earned a BS degree in Farm Operation and an MBA.


Ryan Stockwell

Sr. Manager, Grower Engagement
Indigo Ag


Dr. Ryan Stockwell serves as the Sr. Manager, Partner & Grower Advocacy, at Indigo Ag. Previously, he served as the Director of Sustainable Agriculture for the National Wildlife Federation. In that role, he led the cover crops program, including policy development in the Farm Bill, research coordination, farmer champion communication training and other strategies to communicate regenerative agriculture to farmers in ways that best meet their decision-making methodologies. Ryan has a PhD in history from the University of Missouri, a Master’s in History from Miami University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Change and Development from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In his spare time, he farms near Medford, WI.



Arlan Suderman

Chief Commodities Economist
StoneX Group Inc.


Arlan Suderman is the Chief Commodities Economist for StoneX Group Inc. – FCM Division, a financial services provider for global markets. Suderman oversees the company’s commodity market intelligence efforts. He provides unique market insight on global macro-economic trends and their implications for the commodity markets.


Suderman is a leading commentator in the Ag commodity sector, with particular expertise in the interaction with the broader markets.

Previously, Suderman served as Senior Market Analyst at Water Street Solutions, an agricultural consulting firm.


Prior to that, Suderman was a Market Analyst for Farm Futures magazine and, while also providing written daily market commentary for Farm Progress Companies’ family of state and regional publications and websites.


Suderman started his career with the Kansas Extension Service, developing educational programming focused on crop production, marketing and risk management. He later worked for a private consulting service helping farmers with marketing and risk management.


A graduate of Kansas State University, with a degree specializing in Animal Science & Industry, Suderman has an expertise and passion for the markets that gives him valuable insight into the realities of macro-economic trends and how they influence the commodity markets. He shares his market commentary daily on Twitter with 44,000 followers, as well as on StoneX’s Market Intelligence Web site. Arlan can be heard daily on many radio stations across the Midwest as well as on Sirius XM Rural Radio and weekly on RFD-TV's Market Day Report.  



Darcy Telenko

Extension Field Crop Pathologist
Purdue University


Darcy Telenko, Ph.D. is an expert in the biology and management of soil-borne and foliar pathogens in crops. Dr. Telenko is a native of western New York and received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University, and a doctorate in plant pathology and crop sciences from North Carolina State University.








Mary Kay Thatcher

Senior Manager, Federal Government and Industry Relations


Mary Kay has been on Syngenta’s Government Relations team since 2018. She is the company’s liaison in Washington, DC and the “go to” on policy matters. A lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 31 years, her work has primarily focused on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation and credit. She is a fifth-generation Iowa farmer and graduate of Iowa State University where she earned a degree in animal science and agricultural economics. 




Darrin Unruh

Channel Partner Manager
Indigo Ag


Darrin Unruh is a regenerative ag specialist for the Western region at Indigo Ag. He grew up on a farm in Reno County, Kansas, running a 4010 John Deere tractor pulling a four-bottom plow. Since then, Darrin has come full circle in terms of his views towards soil health. He took his first Holistic Resource management course in the early 90’s. Along with his brother, Stacy, he runs a farming partnership consisting of approximately 770 acres that is managed biologically and has a cow/calf operation that is focused on flex grazing to improve soil health.



Ed Usset

Grain Marketing Specialist
Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota


Ed is a Farm Futures contributing editor who writes the Advanced Marketing Class column in Farm Futures. In 2018 he published a second edition of his book, "Grain Marketing is Simple (it’s just not easy)." Ed was instrumental in reinventing the fantasy grain marketing learning tool “Commodity Challenge” He has been highly rated from attendees the last 5+ Commodity Classic sessions.



Peter Vadas

National Program Leader for Land and Air Management
USDA- Agricultural Research Service Office of National Programs



Peter Vadas is a National Program Leader for Land and Air Management with the USDA- Agricultural Research Service Office of National Programs. He leads research programs on soil and air management and forage and rangeland agroecosystems. Prior to joining National Programs in 2019, Dr. Vadas spent nearly 20 years as a research scientist with ARS in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, conducting research on nutrient management for sustainable animal production systems. Dr. Vadas earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Soil Science at the University of Delaware.



Matthew Vandehaar

Field Agronomist



Matt Vandehaar helps farmers as a Pioneer Field Agronomist in central Iowa. Matt is responsible for providing agronomic and product guidance to farmers and his local Pioneer sales team, assessing field issues, and improving customer profitability. Since joining Pioneer in 2011, he has held various sales and agronomist roles in Iowa. Matt holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Agronomy from Iowa State University. Matt lives on his family farm in central Iowa with his wife and three young children.



Mike Wilson

Certified Crop Advisor

Agronomist & Product Lead
Wabash Valley Service Company


Mike Wilson is an agronomist and product lead for Wabash Valley Service Company in Southeastern Illinois. He works with 20 Crop salespeople to provide the best information, products, and practices to growers in 15 counties in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky with a heavy emphasis on nutrient management and nutrient use efficiency.
A Certified Crop Advisor for nearly 29 years he serves as Current Chair of the Illinois CCA organization. Wilson has been recognized for his work in Nutrient Stewardship as a past Illinois CCA of the year, International CCA of the year, a 4R’s Advocate by TFI, the National Environmental Respect Award by Crop Life Magazine and the CCA Conservationist of the Year by USDA and NRCS.
His nutrient conservation work is in partnership with many entities including the American Society of Agronomy, Illinois EPA, The Fertilizer Institute, Illinois Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Grant Program, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Illinois NREC, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Corn Growers, and Illinois Soybean association. Cooperation from these entities is key to the success of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.
A native of southwestern Indiana and a graduate of The Purdue Short Course he and his wife Christine live in Allendale, Illinois. They have 3 Daughters and 7 grandchildren; the 8th should arrive on April 1st!


Brandon Wipf

Producer, Wipf Grain Company

Brandon R. Wipf operates a farm in East Central South Dakota.  He manages a diverse selection of crops on several thousand acres.  Brandon has spent the last decade representing farmers’ policy interests at both the local and national level.  
A multidisciplinary musician, Wipf also holds a degree in Electrical Engineering.  He has written for many publications and appeared on local, national, and foreign news outlets.
Brandon shares a home with his wife Mandy, an engineer for the Dept. of Energy, and their dog, Sarge.



J. Isaac Wolford, CCA-CB

Agronomist, Chair - ICCA, CCA

Isaac Wolford is a 24-year Certified Crop Adviser from West Virginia and located within the Mid-Atlantic CCA Region.  Isaac has been an active board member for many years.  Isaac is currently the ICCA Vice-Chair and Mid-Atlantic CCA Chair.

Isaac has served on the Mid-Atlantic Board Standards and Ethics Committee for the past eight years.  His roles within ICCA include serving on the Greenfield Scholarship Committee and serving as co-chair of the ICCA Policy Committee.  He has worked hard to increase student involvement within his own region over his 20 plus years as a CCA.  Isaac has also mentored numerous individuals in conservation and agronomic career choices.  He is considered a state lead expert in cover crop and forage management and has conducted numerous on-farm and research studies.

Isaac holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Agriculture degree from West Virginia University focusing on agronomy and special emphasis in Nutrient Management Planning, organic agriculture, and agriculture economics and policy.  He is seasoned conservation planner and technical specialist in nutrient management, forage and grassland management.  He holds certifications in nutrient management, certified crop advising, and grassland planning.

He began work with no-till and biomass production in the early 1980s.  Sustainability and soil health was a goal early in his farming experience and an early adopter of now climate smart practices.

Isaac currently resides in the Lewisburg, WV area with his wife Susan, daughter Tess, and son Owen.